« PrejšnjaNaprej »
From sketch by the Rev. Wm. Mason. (National
After Romney, by Val. Green; published 1771.
EDWARD THURLOE, LORD CHANCELLOR, 1732
By Thomas Phillips, R.A. (1806). (National
By Richard Earlom. (National Portrait Gallery.)
JOSEPH BARETTI, 1719-1784,
By Sir Joshua Reynolds (1774).
Engraved portraits, S. K. M.; published 1822.
REV. THOMAS PERCY, DEAN OF CARLISLE, 17291811, .
By Sir Joshua Reynolds (1773).
HANNAH MORE, 1745-1822,
Painted 1822 by H. W. Pickersgill, R.A.
(National Portrait Gallery.)
UNIV. Or CALIFORNIA
THE LIFE OF
SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D.
ON Sunday, March 24, we breakfasted with Mrs. Cobb, a widow lady, who lived in an agreeable sequestered place close by the town called the Friary, it having been formerly a religious house. She and her niece, Miss Adey, were great admirers of Dr. Johnson; and he behaved to them with a kindness and easy pleasantry, such as we see between old and intimate acquaintance. He accompanied Mrs. Cobb to St. Mary's Church, and I went to the cathedral, where I was very much delighted with the music, finding it to be peculiarly solemn, and accordant with the words of the service.
We dined at Mr. Peter Garrick's, who was in a very lively humour, and verified Johnson's saying that, if he had cultivated gaiety as much as his brother David, he might have equally excelled in it. He was to-day quite a London narrator, telling us a variety of anecdotes with that earnestness and attempt at mimicry which we usually find in the wits of the metropolis. Dr. Johnson went with me to the cathedral in the afternoon. It was grand and pleasing to contemplate this illustrious writer, now full of fame, worshipping in 'the solemn temple' of his native city.
I returned to tea and coffee at Mr. Peter Garrick's, and then found Dr. Johnson at the Reverend Mr. Seward's, Canon Residentiary, who inhabited the Bishop's palace, in which Mr. Walmsley lived, and which had been the scene of many happy hours in Johnson's early life. Mr. Seward had, with ecclesiastical hospitality and politeness, asked me in the morning, merely as a stranger, to dine with him; and in the afternoon, when I was introduced to him, he asked Dr. Johnson and me to spend the evening and sup with him. He was a genteel, well-bred, dignified clergyman, had travelled with Lord Charles Fitzroy, uncle of the present Duke of Grafton, who died when abroad, and he had lived much in the great world. He was an ingenious and literary man, had published an edition of Beaumont and Fletcher, and written verses in Dodsley's collection. His lady was the daughter of Mr. Hunter, Johnson's first schoolmaster. And now, for the first time, I had the pleasure of seeing his celebrated daughter, Miss Anna Seward, to whom I have since been indebted for many civilities, as well as some obliging communications concerning Johnson.
Mr. Seward mentioned to us the observations which he had made upon the strata of earth in volcanoes, from which it appeared, that they were so very different in depth at different periods, that no calculation whatever could be made as to the time required for their formation. This fully refuted an anti-Mosaical remark introduced into Captain Brydone's entertaining tour, I hope heedlessly, from a kind of vanity which is too common in those who have not sufficiently studied the most important of all subjects. Dr.
Johnson, indeed, had said before, independent of this observation, 'Shall all the accumulated evidence of the history of the world ;-shall the authority of what is unquestionably the most ancient writing, be overturned by an uncertain remark such as this?'
On Monday, March 25, we breakfasted at Mrs. Lucy Porter's. Johnson had sent an express to Dr. Taylor's acquainting him of our being at Lichfield, and Taylor had returned an answer that his postchaise should come for us this day. While we sat at breakfast Dr. Johnson received a letter by the post, which seemed to agitate him very much. When he had read it, he exclaimed, 'One of the most dreadful things that has happened in my time.' The phrase my time, like the word age, is usually understood to refer to an event of a public or general nature. I imagined something like an assassination of the King -like a gunpowder plot carried into execution-or like another fire of London. When asked, 'What is it, sir?' he answered, 'Mr. Thrale has lost his only son!' This was, no doubt, a very great affliction to Mr. and Mrs. Thrale, which their friends would consider accordingly; but from the manner in which the intelligence of it was communicated by Johnson, it appeared for the moment to be comparatively small. I, however, soon felt a sincere concern, and was curious to observe how Dr. Johnson would be affected. He said, 'This is a total extinction to their family, as much as if they were sold into captivity.' Upon my mentioning that Mr. Thrale had daughters, who might inherit his wealth ;-' Daughters (said Johnson warmly), he'll no more value his daughters thanI was going to speak. 'Sir (said he), don't you know